Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Natality of Tradition, c't'd

In yesterday's posting, I was trying to explain why after saying that tradition is regarded internally "as the way it has always been (let "it" be what it may)," I felt it necessary to add "or at least the way it has been since before one's initiation into the field in which the tradition in question holds sway." The reason I gave was twofold: first of all, any description of tradition, from whatever point of view, has to take account of the fact that tradition may and perhaps must relate to a founding; secondly, in the light of a distinction between internal and external ways of encountering tradition, a distinction based on and itself reinforcing the external view, the interpretation of founding which most readily presented itself was an external one: that a founding is an action which invents and introduces a new way of doing things which subsequently catches on.

I have not yet given any reason for denying that this interpretation is the correct one. However, it is certainly incorrect to give it as part of the internal point of view. Now, the question naturally arises as to whether it is even possible from the point of view we have been taking so far, to give a correct statement of the manner in which the internal view would take account of the fact of a founding. I propose that this is not possible, and that the external view of tradition is not even capable of stating in any matter of fact way how founding is traditionally interpreted, let alone what founding is in truth.